Your homework for this weekend starts with you reading the two articles linked below.
Article one: A week with the Dacia Sandero (Sniff Petrol).
Article two: The 6 dullest cars in America (Yahoo Autos).
Done that? Good.
Now compare and contrast to figure out why one of these articles is great and why one of them is complete bollocks.
Your submissions will not be graded, but feel free to contribute anyway.
Sniff Petrol is more commonly known for its spoofing of the real-world motoring industry but in the last few months, Richard Porter has taken to doing this short car reviews. His reviews don’t discuss the 0-100 time of the car. They won’t tell you how many G’s you might pull in the corners, nor are there any WOW-factor statistics about the number of cow hides used in the interior. It’s just him and the car, day-to-day for a week, with him noting down the things that are either pleasant or unpleasant to live with (along with a little bit of Sniff humour thrown in for good measure).
They’re not detailed, but Porter’s generally do manage to communicate the essence of the car that he’s spent a week with.
In the Sandero review, he manages to break the car down into what makes it good – its simplicity and the fact that it’s 100% fit-for-purpose. He covers the one main thing that makes it a pain – no central locking (which I’d have to agree with as our Saab 9000’s central locking gave up 12 months ago – it IS a monumental PITA).
But he also sums up what makes it a great, cheap runabout vehicle. The trick is to see the vehicle in the right light.
By contrast, the Yahoo Autos article manages to treat its subject vehicles with shallow contempt. That the author seems like a willing participant makes it all the more embarrassing. It pretty much sums up some of the reasons the car industry is heading down a rocky path – stupid expectations and an inability to see a vehicle in light of its intended purpose.
Yes, it’s up to car companies to build vehicles that people want. Yes, it’s up to customers to find the vehicle that matches their intended use. The role of the reviewer is to try and bring the two a little closer together. If you can do that in an entertaining way, then more power to ya. If you simply want to bag a bunch of cars in the name of getting page views, then the publishing industry’s in poor shape.
Actually, the publishing industry IS in poor shape, which is probably why stuff like this persists.